Magical Mangawhai

Mangawhai is booming, but still has its eternal magic.


IN the early 1900s Mangawhai was a group of small rural communities with several country schools. Large stones for the foundation blocks of some homes were brought by horse over the swampy creek which led to the estuary … timber for houses was felled and milled by the families who would live in them. Today Mangawhai is a bustling community of 2000 that swells to about 12,000 with tourists and bach owners at holiday seasons through the

Between Mangawhai Heads and Mangawhai Village, there are two lively business centres with restaurants, galleries, green grocers, liquor outlets, a garden centre, a pub and several other businesses. Add these to the wonderful beaches, glistening sand dunes, golf course, acres of lifestyle blocks and farms … and you have a very magical Mangawhai! Special events like the April Walking Weekend bring hundreds to town to get to know this marvelous beach community.

Business and tourism group Focus Mangawhai, aided by the NZ Communities Development Trust, has developed a web site,, business directory and updated street maps and actively works to promote growth and opportunity. Past chairman Richard Alder, an Auckland builder, has owned property in Mangawhai for twenty years and often commutes the 80-90 minute drive while holidaying in Mangawhai.

The new chairman, Craig Matheson, is a real estate salesman for Barfoot&Thompson. Craig works closely with a number of developers and currently has sole agency for one of the best companies he’s dealt with, The Anchorage Land Co. One of the partners in the Anchorage Land Co is a Mangawhai local. Their current subdivision, The Anchorage, is next door to Mangawhai Beach School and they have involved the pupils in planting the sand bunds near the estuary; part of the state-of-the-art stormwater and septic system for the wetlands. McBreen Jenkins has done the civil works for this project and has seen the potential in the area.

Like so much of coastal Northland, subdivision and development are rapidly going ahead and Mangawhai is booming. McBreen Jenkins Ltd is involved with contracts from two lot subdivisions to 100-plus lots costing many millions of dollars. Contracts are presently run from their Kaipara office in Dargaville until the new office is opened in Mangawhai early next year. The new office willhave the staff and resources to assist developers at any stage of their development and/or construction and offer obligation-free advice on issues that may arise.

With contracts for The Heads and Bream Tail Farm currently under negotiation, McBreen Jenkins is looking forward to recruiting locally based staff to work with its successful Dargaville and Whangarei team over the coming
summer. In the 2001 census, unemployment in Mangawhai Heads was less than NZ as a whole (5.9 percent compared to 7.5 percent) and the booming construction business may be one
reason for this … interestingly, however, the most popular occupational group in Mangawhai Heads was Legislators, Administrators and Managers.

You can learn about old Mangawhai by contacting Bev Ross, the curator of the local museum, at (09) 431-4664, but to keep up with today’s business community, you’ll need to get in touch with Focus Mangawhai. And if you want
to experience all the pleasures the locals cherish, come for a visit during the off season.


Focus Mangawhai
P O Box 44
Mangawhai 0583

McBreen Jenkins
Rob Wilson
021 588 062

Coastal Focus Northland